ARTIST ENOC PEREZ WALKS US THROUGH THE HOTEL ROOMS OF ROCKSTARS
By Evalena Labayen
Published October 8, 2019
There was once a time when the lifestyles of the rich and famous were a delicious mystery, and their exclusivity drew us in closer in an attempt to peek behind the curtain. The Puerto Rican artist Enoc Perez pulls up those blinds in his new exhibit, The Cinematic Self, which runs from October 2 through November 22 at the Ben Brown Fine Arts gallery in London. In The Cinematic Self, Perez gives a nod to the figures who have influenced him throughout his life by opening a gateway into their lives, and homes, with his paintings. The exhibition humanizes these larger-than-life figures, allowing the viewer to leisurely examine Andy Warhol’s medicine cabinet, or rifle through the books on Mick Jagger’s mantel, unimpeded by their presence. Perez’s subjects include rock stars like Elvis Presley, industry tycoons like Nelson Rockefeller, and fellow artists like Charles Jeanneret-Gris (a.k.a. Le Corbusier).
Where his previous works focused on exteriors, The Cinematic Self furthers his tradition of imagining beautiful spaces usually filled with people rendered completely empty. “I made these beautiful paintings of these modernist buildings,” Perez told Interview. “A lot of those buildings today are in ruins. They’re abandoned. That was the utopia I was painting 25 years ago.” His art is continually drawn towards symbols of greatness, from soaring skyscrapers like the Freedom Tower in New York and Marina Towers in Chicago, to a timeless bottle of Puerto Rican rum, in “31.” With The Cinematic Self, these symbols are not just of one object, but of an entire environment that was once loved and lived in, where suddenly a simple office space or a bathroom’s wallpaper have significance. When asked why he wouldn’t add his own studio to the roster of rooms preserved by his brush, he said, “I’d rather see the space of Sigmund Freud or somebody interesting. Why would anybody want to look at my space?” Below, the artist gives us a tour of some of the interiors he’s painted, including David Bowie’s sleeping car in Siberia, Nelson Rockefeller’s apartment, and Fred Hughes’s office inside Andy Warhol’s Factory.